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Press TV chief in Syria denies alleged e-mail correspondence with Assad

Press TV – March 16, 2012

The head of Iran’s international news channels’ offices in Syria has rejected allegations by some Western media that he has sent e-mails to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Press TV reports.

Accusing Western media of fabricating news, Hussein Mortada, who runs local offices of Press TV and al-Alam news channels in the Syrian capital, Damascus, said the Western media claims about his e-mails to Assad were false.

He also emphasized that recent CNN claims about Mortada failing to respond to its contacts about the authenticity of e-mails attributed to him were baseless as he has never been contacted by CNN.

Mortada stressed if contacted by CNN, he would be willing to respond to any question about the e-mails.

He stated that Western news channels were trying to falsify facts and fabricate news in order to embroil Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria’s events.

Mortada also rejected rumors that he is a businessman, saying, “I am only a journalist and head of Press TV and al-Alam news channels offices in Damascus.”

He said his job is to convey the true image of what is happening on the ground in Syria, adding that he has already visited important areas such as al-Zabadani, Jisr al-Shughour, Dara, Baba Amr and other critical areas in Syria.

On Wednesday, some British and American media outlets reported that a trove of e-mails belonging to the Syrian President Assad and his family has been obtained.

They claimed that the e-mails included those sent by Mortada to one of Assad’s aides in which he allegedly gave Damascus advice on how to quell the ongoing unrest in Syria.

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Dealing With Iran

By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH | CounterPunch | March 16, 2012

Dr. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and brother of the well-known pollster John Zogby, recently published an article on “Dealing with Iran” in Huffington Post  that is problematic on a number of grounds.

To begin with, Dr. Zogby claims that Iran harbors “aspirations for regional hegemony,” and it is therefore a “threat” to its neighbors: “Make no mistake, the regime in Tehran is a meddlesome menace and their aspirations for regional hegemony do pose a threat, not to Israel . . . but to the Arab Gulf States.” Dr. Zogby goes even one step further, arguing that Iran is more than just a threat; it is “the real danger to its … neighbors.”

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar recently admitted (boastfully) that the Israeli government had succeeded in distracting the attention of the entire world away from the Palestinians to the Iranians. Dr. Zogby’s argument that Iran is “the real danger to its neighbors” shows that Mr. Sa’ar is, indeed, justified in boasting about the fantastic success of Israel’s policy of distraction. Instead of blaming the US-Israeli axis of aggression for the never-ending and escalating turbulence in the Middle East, Dr. Zogby blames Iran!

But let us examine Dr. Zogby’s allegation in light of reality: (1) Iran has not invaded (or threatened invasion of) any country for over 250 years. (2) Iran was invaded in 1980 by Saddam Hussein, which culminated in the devastating 8-year war—a war that was instigated, supported and sustained by Western powers and their proxy regimes in the Persian Gulf region. (3) The “Arab Gulf States,” headed by the Saudi kingdom, are collaborating with the US-Israeli axis of aggression in their efforts to destabilize and overthrow the Iranian government. (4) The “Arab Gulf States,” not Iran, serve (literally) as military bases of Western powers that support Israel and its policies of settlements and occupation.

Against this background, Dr. Zogby’s claim that Iran is a “meddlesome menace” is obviously counterfactual and preposterous.

Ironically, Dr. Zogby’s claim that Iran poses “the real danger to its neighbors” is flatly rejected by the Arab people. Public opinion polls have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of the Arab neighbors of Iran view the U.S. and Israel as the real threats, not Iran. For example, the most recent recent (2011) and most comprehensive public opinion survey to date, which covered 12 Arab/Muslim counties and 16,731 face-to-face interviews, and which was conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), found that “by a 15-1 ratio, Israel and the US are seen as more threatening than Iran.”

Since Dr. Zogby does not tell his readers why or how Iran is “the real danger to its neighbors,” let me offer an explanation for his allegation. The “threat” he is talking about is not a military threat. Nor is it a threat to Arab people or their territory—Iran has no territorial ambitions. It is, rather, the threat to the autocratic Arab rulers; a threat that results from Iran’s example or model of national sovereignty, not its “aspirations for regional hegemony,” as Dr. Zogby claims. As Iran’s policies of national independence and resistance to external pressure make the client Arab regimes look bad in the eyes of the Arab people, they tend to discredit and threaten their dictatorial rulers. And as those policies earn respect from the Arab people, they also earn the wrath of the Arab leaders. This means that Dr. Zogby’s arguments against the Iranian government reflect the views of the dictatorial Arab leaders, and their imperialist backers, not those of the Arab people.

One salutary point in Dr. Zogby’s article seems to be his advice against military threats against Iran. Unfortunately, he does so for the wrong reasons; he opposes military actions against Iran not because such actions would be unlawful and immoral, but because (a) military threats “only serve to embolden Iran,” which is not clear why or how; and (b) “continued targeted sanctions… are having a real impact.”

Dr. Zogby is either uniformed about the sanctions on Iran, or uses a peculiar definition of targeted sanctions. The brutal sanctions imposed on Iran are way beyond targeted sanctions; they are a most comprehensive sanctions, designed to be “crippling” as they include Iran’s oil exports and its banks, which, in effect, means its international trade. Targeted sanctions are almost always expanded to broader, comprehensive sanctions, as has been the case with Iran. Furthermore, sanctions are essentially a disguised and an insidious form of war whose primary victims are the poor, the children, the elderly, and the infirm. And when sanctions fail to bring about “regime change,” military actions follow logically “to do the job.”

In his article Dr. Zogby also writes (with a dash of sarcasm): “What, one might ask the leaders of Iran, will they do with their nuclear program and their provocation? Can it feed their people, rebuild their neglected and decayed infrastructure, give hope to their unemployed young, or secure their role in the community of nations? . . . As the Gulf States make significant progress, providing a model for development and growth, Iran remains trapped in an archaic system which feeds off of fear and anger, and goes nowhere.”

It is only fair to ask Dr. Zogby: how can “Arab Gulf States provide a model of development for Iran” when they are essentially consumer markets for foreign products? What product line, manufacturing process or technological know-how can Iran learn from these states? Dr. Zogby seems to confuse financial services, extravagant consumerism (made possible by abundant oil and smaller populations), unrestricted import of luxury goods from abroad, glossy shopping malls, ballooning  skyscrapers, and man-made islands with manufacturing, industrialization, labor productivity and real development. With the exception of oil, which is produced, processed and managed largely with the help foreign experts, Persian Gulf kingdoms do not produce much of what they consume.

By contrast, Iran produces much of what it needs or consumes. It has made considerable progress in scientific research and technological know-how. It has taken advantage of the imperialist sanctions and boycotts to become self-reliant in many technological areas.

For example, Iran is now self-sufficient in producing many of its industrial products such as home and electric appliances (television sets, washers and dryers, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like), textiles, leather products, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, processed food, and beverage products. The country has also made considerable progress in manufacturing steel, copper products, paper, rubber products, telecommunications equipment, cement, and industrial machinery. Iran has the largest operational stock of industrial robots in West Asia.

Iran’s progress in automobile and other motor vehicle production has especially been impressive. Motor vehicles, including farming equipment, now count among Iran’s exports. Most remarkable of Iran’s industrial progress, however, can be seen in the manufacture of various types of its armaments needs. Iran’s defense industry has taken great strides in the past few decades, and now manufactures many types of arms and equipment. Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO) now produces its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, radar systems, military vessels, submarines, fighter planes, and more. Despite these achievements, Iran’s military spending is relatively modest. For example, while Iran’s military spending is currently about $7 billion, or nearly 2% of its GDP, that of Saudi Arabia is about $43 billion, or nearly 11.2% of its GDP, and that of Israel is about $13 billion, or 6.3% of its GDP. And while Iran produces most of its military equipment at home, Saudi Arabia imports its military hardware.

Contrary to Dr. Zogby’s claims, Iran’s military preparedness and its nuclear program, have not meant neglect of its infrastructure. Iran has, indeed, invested considerably in both physical infrastructures (such as transportation and communication) and soft/social infrastructures (such as education and healthcare services). Health care is free for those who can’t pay. All public education, including university, is free.

Although women are required to comply with the official dress code, they are encouraged (both by their families and the government) to excel in educational and professional pursuits. The results have been quite impressive. Women now constitute the majority of university students. Despite the very high level of unemployment, which is largely due to the criminal economic sanctions and military threats from abroad, more and more women are joining the workforce. They are doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, writers, artists, business owners, salespersons, firefighters and taxi drivers. Working women in Iran are entitled to 90 days of maternity leave at two-thirds pay, with the right to return to their previous jobs. Women in the US do not have these benefits. Sex change operations and abortion under certain circumstances (and before the ensoulment, i.e. during the first four months of pregnancy) are legal.

In a number of the “Arab Gulf States,” by contrast, women can’t hold public office, are denied the right to vote, cannot get a university education, drive a car, or even leave home without a chaperone. How or why Dr. Zogby thinks that these states can “provide a model of development and progress for Iran” is unfathomable.

Dr. Zogby also chides Iran for not supporting the ongoing efforts by the US and its allies, including the “Arab Gulf States,” to overthrow the Syrian regime. Yet, there is undeniable evidence that the Syrian opposition is hatched largely by NATO, Israel and their cringing allies in the Arab League. “The Free Syria Army (FSA) fighting against Assad inside Syria is a creation of NATO. Sources indicate 600 to 1,500 fighters from the Islamic Fighting Group in Libya, now known as al-Qaeda in Libya, are working with the FSA to topple the Assad regime. An Arab League report revealed last month that Mossad, MI6, the CIA, and British SAS are in Syria working with the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council.” It is a shame that Dr. Zogby would allow himself to support this orgy of mercenary forces, benignly called the “Syrian opposition.”

In his Article Dr. Zogby refers to the Persian Gulf simply as the “Gulf,” without the word “Persian.” I suspect this omission is not fortuitous. Let me explain why. As mentioned earlier, Iran’s resistance to US-Israeli axis of aggression infuriates the autocratic Arab rulers as such resistance to injustice, which Dr. Zogby calls Iran’s “provocations,” exposes the complicity of these rulers with the imperialist-Zionist powers in the occupation and militarization of their lands. To counter this “problem” and to turn the Arab public opinion against Iran, the Arab client regimes (with the help of their imperialist patrons) have in recent years cooked up a scheme that is based on a harebrained idea that the word “Persian” should be dropped from the name of Persian Gulf and replaced with the word “Arab,” that is, it should be the Arab Gulf, not the Persian Gulf! The scheme is, obviously, part of an insidious strategy that is designed to pit the Persians/Iranians against the Arabs and the Shias against the Sunnis. Regrettably, Dr. Zogby seems to have fallen for this age-old divide-and-conquer ploy.

~

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave – Macmillan 2007) and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press.

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

South Africa Must Resist Sanctions on Iran

By Iqbal Jassat | Palestine Chronicle | March 15, 2012

South Africa’s latest corruption scandal is once again linked to high profile politicians and their close business associates.

However, unlike earlier cases of fraud, the murkiness of current allegations implicating deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe’s partner Gugu Mtshali is entirely clouded as a result of the involvement of a foreign intelligence agency, the CIA.

And amazingly, instead of being alarmed or at the least being curious, media seems to have ignored the questionable role of America’s spooks in South Africa.

The foremost question that requires probing is the timing of leaks in relation to an Israeli-inspired frenzy led by the Obama administration to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As this scandal allegedly centers on so-called sanctions busting, it is entirely inappropriate to accept a narrative framed by the American government that would have South Africa believe it is guilty of a heinous crime by doing business with Iran.

Quite distinct from the basis of this new round of sensational reports which are quite damning if true for they reveal the nature of deals constructed by being close or connected to political heavyweights, concerns raised by me relate to the ability of foreign entities to attack South Africa’s economy!

So by setting aside allegations of fraud and corruption as a matter for investigation by the office of the Public Protector, a challenge facing media is to investigate the role of foreign agencies allied to American/Israeli interests intent on undermining South Africa’s legitimate trade ties with Iran.

Unless it becomes clear that the ANC government has accepted US demands on sanctions that inevitably will destabilize South Africa’s economy and retard efforts at job creation, it would be irresponsible for media to ignore this.

If India, despite its close strategic ties with America, is able to place its national interest above the Israeli manipulated economic sabotage by resisting sanctions on Iran, surely South Africa can do so too.

- Iqbal Jassat is an executive member of the Media Review Network in Johannesburg, South Africa.

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Iran War Debate: Media Failure or Undisclosed Bias?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | March 16, 2012

Comparing the media handling of the debate over Iran with the lead-up to the war on Iraq, Stephen M. Walt observes in a recent Foreign Policy column that “most mainstream news organizations have let us down again.” In his “Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare,” Prof. Walt singles out five journalists for particular criticism:

#1: Mainstreaming the war. As I’ve written before, when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives. Exhibits A and B for this problem are Jeffrey Goldberg’s September 2010 article in The Atlantic Monthly and Ronan Bergman’s February 2012 article in the New York Times Magazine. Both articles reported that top Israeli leaders believed time was running out and suggested that an attack might come soon.

[...]

#8: Letting spinmeisters play fast and loose with facts. Journalists have to let officials and experts express their views, but they shouldn’t let them spout falsehoods without pushing back. Unfortunately, there have been some egregious cases where prominent journalists allowed politicians or government officials to utter howlers without being called on it. When Rick Santorum announced on Meet the Press that “there were no inspectors” in Iran, for example, host David Gregory didn’t challenge this obvious error. (In fact, Iran may be the most heavily inspected country in the history of the IAEA).

Even worse, when Israeli ambassador Michael Oren appeared on MSNBC last week, he offered the following set of dubious claims, without challenge:

“[Iran] has built an underground nuclear facility trying to hide its activities from the world. It has been enriching uranium to a high rate [sic.] that has no explanation other than a military nuclear program – that has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency now several times. It is advancing very quickly on an intercontinental ballistic missile system that’s capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”

Unfortunately, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell apparently didn’t know that Oren’s claims were either false or misleading. 1) Iran’s underground facility was built to make it hard to destroy, not to “hide its activities,” and IAEA inspectors have already been inside it. 2) Iran is not enriching at a “high rate” (i.e., to weapons-grade); it is currently enriching to only 20% (which is not high enough to build a bomb). 3) Lastly, Western intelligence experts do not think Iran is anywhere near to having an ICBM capability.

In another interview on NPR, Oren falsely accused Iran of “killing hundreds, if not thousands of American troops,” a claim that NPR host Robert Siegel did not challenge.

Every one of those Walt identifies as examples of “media failures” — Jeffrey Goldberg, Ronen Bergman, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell and Robert Siegel — either already has Israeli citizenship or would probably qualify for it under the Law of Return, which accords any Jew the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship.

Of course, being Jewish doesn’t necessarily mean that one is more susceptible to Israeli falsehoods about the alleged “Iranian threat.” After all, Glenn Greenwald is one of the journalists that Walt singles out for praise in countering the war propaganda. But we still need to ask if this is simply another case of “media failure”? Or are those in the media with an undisclosed bias helping to take America to another disastrous war for Israel?

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Willing Executioners: AIPAC Invades Washington

By James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya :: 03.15.2012

When a country, like the United States, is in decline, it is not because of external competition: Declining competitiveness is only a symptom. It is because of internal rot. Decline results when a nation is betrayed by craven leaders, who crawl and humiliate themselves before a minority of thuggish mediocrities pledged to a foreign state without scruples or moral integrity.

Introduction: A Week of National Humiliation:

From March 4th to March 9th, 2012, 13,000 militant Israel Firsters, took over “political Washington” [1] and imposed a foreign regime’s (Israeli) political agenda to the rousing applause and appreciation of their captive vassal US legislators and executives who crowded the halls and platforms groveling for the imperious nods of their visiting Israeli overlords [2].

The annual meeting of the American (sic) Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the most outrageous public display of Zionist-Jewish power as it shapes US foreign policy. The sole purpose of AIPAC is to ensure Israel’s unchallenged military and political power over a huge region from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. Over three quarters of the US Congress members paraded themselves before the AIPAC, as well as President Obama and Vice President Biden and any high ranking Cabinet members in any way related to US foreign policy (Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Panetta included). They all loudly parroted the political agenda and military priorities that AIPAC has imposed on the United States [3].

AIPAC: A launch pad for Israeli Leaders

The AIPAC gathering is clearly not a meeting of “just another lobby” [4] : It is the launch pad used by Israel’s top political and military leaders to drag the US into another major war in the Middle East – this time against Iran [5]. Shimon Peres, Israel’s President opened the conference, setting the militarist tone and political framework for US President Obama who followed, slavishly echoing the language and substance of the Israeli leader [6]. The following day the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, spoke, and forcefully laid out the line for a US war against Iran [7] with thousands of prominent and respectable Jewish Americans, Israel Firsters, leaping to their feet dozens of times in fanatic support for a US war – a war, in which few, if any, of them, their children, relatives or friends will suffer loss of life or limb [8].

This was the same Bibi Netanyahu who once opined that the 9-11 attack on the US benefited Israel because it linked the US closer to Israeli interests.

Not since the War of 1812, which saw the British occupation and burning of Washington, has the US capital been so utterly humiliated by a foreign power. Unlike the British crown, which then negotiated a peace settlement, allowing the US to regain its sovereignty and capital, the Israeli leaders and their rabid “fifth column” demand a military agreement, in which Israel dictates the terms under which the US goes to war with Iran.

Israeli leaders have not secured the submission of the US because of Israel’s military, economic or political superiority: They have a puny economy, a fraction of the US nuclear weapons and have few allies and even less public approval in the international community. But they do have at least a half million fanatical, unconditional Zionist militants in the United States, including thousands of loyal multi-millionaires and billionaires who fund the campaign of both Democrat and Republican parties [9]. AIPAC is the vanguard of Israel’s shock troops in the US.

Highly disciplined and organized, AIPAC lobbyists invade the offices of every Congressperson armed with a legislative script carefully prepared by and for the State of Israel [10]. They have secured the full commitment of most members of Congress for Israel’s agenda waving both dollar signs and stars (of David). As past history has amply demonstrated, Congressional staff or legislators who dare hesitate or ask for time to reflect, rapidly find themselves on the receiving end of AIPAC’s political bullying and threats which usually secure acquiescence. Refusal to capitulate to AIPAC means the end of a political career in Washington.

The Israeli (and therefore AIPAC’s) agenda is to pursue an unprovoked war, either initiated by the US or as part of a US-backed Israeli sneak attack, against the sovereign Islamic Republic of Iran [11]. Iran is targeted today because the other opponents of Israel’s colonization of Palestine have been destroyed in previous Zionist-backed US wars, namely Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and the ongoing proxy war against the Assad regime in Syria [12].

Today Israeli leaders insist that Iran should be violently denied what over 120 other nations practice freely: the legal enrichment of uranium for medical, commercial and scientific purposes. Past Israeli propaganda, echoed by the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, falsely claimed Iran possessed nuclear weapons or … was in the process of manufacturing them and therefore posed an ‘existential’ threat to Israel. Even the mere ‘capacity’ to enrich uranium for medical purposes (many times below the level needed for a weapon) is presented as a major threat to the Jewish State. Meanwhile, the 27 US intelligence agencies (in their yearly ‘findings’) and even the US-influenced International Atomic Energy Agency have found no such evidence of an ongoing weapons program – thus the need for bizarre terms like ‘existential threat’.

Israel’s high command has now come up with a new flimsy pretext for war. Iran’s potential (through its advanced scientific and technical manpower and research centers) for acquiring a ‘nuclear weapon capability may constitute a sufficient cause for war [13]. In other words, Israel has ordered its 13,000 AIPAC militants, to demand every US Congress person vote for a war resolution on the basis of Iran’s current uranium enrichment program geared to medical uses and on its sophisticated scientific and intellectual potential! Meanwhile, the Mossad has launched a not-so-secret program of terrorist assassinations of Iranian scientists – in their homes, offices and universities; with nary a protest from the ‘Zionized’ US press.

Israel’s Willing Executioners

Netanyahu’s newest criterion for war (Iranian capability) has the blind support of the major Jewish organizations in the US [14]. American Zionists are the willing executioners promoting an aggressive, unprovoked, military attack against the homeland (and homes) of 75 million Iranians. Let us be clear, there are naked genocidal impulses permeating some of the pronouncements of leading US Jewish religious leaders. The executive vice president of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Herring, suggested that Israel should consider “the use of tactical nuclear weapons in areas that aren’t so populated or in the open desert …to show the Iranians that their lives are on the line, that Israel won’t go quietly“. [15] The rabbi did not specify whether population centers of a quarter of a million inhabitants or less qualify under his definition of “not so populated” and therefore are suitable targets for this educational display of thermo-nuclear destruction, “just to show the Iranians”….

Let us keep in mind that among the Zionist fundamentalists, “not a few organizational leaders … wanted to use tactical nuclear weapons right now“ [16].

When Netanyahu gave the command to the AIPAC delegates to invade the US Congress and secure a war commitment on the basis of Iran’s ‘capacity’ (for uranium enrichment), there was no debate and no dissension among the ’shock troops’ – only blind unanimous approval among Jewish American citizens for their foreign master. These respectable Jewish-Americans marched lock-step in platoons right up to the Congress members on their lists, canned arguments in one hand and Israeli-ghost-written legislation in the other. They boast of having rounded up a substantial majority of elected US representatives – for war!

If Israel’s power in the US depends on AIPAC’s tight control over the US Congress, the lobby, for its part, depends on the power of the wider Zionist power configuration permeating strategic political and administrative offices, political party structures and the electoral process itself. This, in turn, depends on Zionist media influence linked back to economic and financial power. The democratic and representative process has been totally crushed under this narrow-focused juggernaut for war on behalf of Israel.

AIPAC’s Congressional and Executive Collaborators

While much has been made of the influence AIPAC exercises over the US Congress and Executive via ‘lobbying’, better termed intimidation and pressure tactics, a great part of its success is based on the larger Zionist matrix of power operating within the government, civil society and the economy. When AIPAC lobbyists approach Congress members with Israeli-dictated foreign policy priorities in hand, they coordinate and are given a major platform by the forty-plus elected Zionist legislators who, just happen, to occupy strategic positions, such as the chairpersons of Congressional committees dealing with foreign policy, especially policy related to the Middle East.

In other words, AIPAC’s conquest of Congress is ‘by invitation‘. The relationship is ‘reciprocal’. AIPAC and the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations and various fundraisers mobilize money and activists to help elect the reliable Zionists to office. Once in place, they openly collaborate in writing pro-Israel legislation and ensuring that ‘majorities’ vote the ‘right way’ [17].

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” helped write the latest (Iran) sanctions bill … (Financial Times March 6, 2012, pg. 9). The “Foundation” is better known as an unconditional and unquestioning promoter of Israel’s agenda. Dubowitz is one of many un-electedlegislators‘ who write and promote laws at Israel’s behest. The legislation to impose sanctions on Iran, authored by Dubowitz, is designed to brutalize and starve 75 million Iranian citizens into submission to further Israel’s goal of unquestioned supremacy in the Middle East.

AIPAC’s operations are not confined to Congress or to the electoral process. From the Reagan Administration to the Obama Administration, AIPAC has supplied committed Zionists to key positions in the Treasury, State Department, National Security Council and the President’s inner circle of advisors on the Middle East [18]. AIPAC pressure ensures the appointment of Zionists to the executive branch and has led to the creation of special administrative posts designed specifically to pursue Israel’s agenda. A good example of AIPAC’s success is the post of Undersecretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Intelligence. The position was first held by Stuart Levey, a Zionist zealot, whose whole purpose was to design and implement US (and later EU) sanctions against Iran.

His replacement, David Cohen, a clone also from AIPAC, is the author of legislation pushing for punitive sanctions against Syria [19].

Dennis Ross, widely known as ‘Israel’s lawyer’ and a former AIPAC leader, was appointed senior adviser to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, was the architect of US support for Israel’s starvation blockade and criminal bombing of Gaza (1999) as well as the murderous invasion of Lebanon (2006). He has provided ‘cover’ for Netanyahu’s massive building of Jews only settlements on occupied Palestinian lands and his cynical ‘peace negotiations’ ploy [20].

Jeffrey Feltman, the current AIPAC front man in the State Department, is the key official in charge of Middle East affairs, especially Lebanon, Syria and Iran [21]. Obama’s own inner circle of advisers is dominated by unconditional Israel supporters, including David Axelrod as chief confidant and the former Presidential Chief of Staff, dual US-Israeli citizen and current Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel [22]. What is striking is the constant cycle from leadership and activity in Zionist (Israeli-front) organizations, entry into powerful government post, return to one or another pro-Israel think tank, ‘civic organizations’, electoral office or lucrative private practice – all promoting the interests of Tel Aviv.

AIPAC and the 52 Grassroots Organizations

AIPAC’s power in Washington depends on the activism of hundreds of thousands of American Zionists affiliated with organizations under the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (MAJO). While there is considerable overlap of membership, MAJO leaders openly serve as a transmission belt for Israel: transmitting the political line from Tel Aviv to their membership, including activist doctors, dentists and stock brokers in New York, Miami, Kansas City, Los Angeles and San Francisco and all points north, south, east and west. When AIPAC has ‘trouble’ securing an elected representative’s sign-on to legislation for sanctions against whichever country is currently targeted by Israel, the reluctant legislator becomes a prime target for local Zionist notables and ‘fund raisers’, who pay them a ‘visit’ to persuade, if possible, threaten retaliation, if necessary. If a legislator still refuses to hew to Israel’s line, or considers service to a foreign power to be harmful to United States, he/she will soon find that AIPAC has raised millions of dollars to fund a campaign of slander and electoral defeat [23].

Along with these upper middle class ‘grass roots’ activists there are the numerous highly politicized Zionist mega-millionaires and billionaires, like Adelson, Saban and scores of others, who make no bones about being fanatical Israel Firsters and donate millions to Congresspeople willing to subordinate US interests to Israel’s quest for Middle East supremacy [24].

Besides this legal corruption of the political process, there is the issue of illegal espionage and thuggery on AIPAC’s part, most recently evidenced by the ongoing law-suit by one of two former top AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen caught spying for Israel (passing classified documents on US military policy towards Iran).

Rosen, who was acquitted in a highly manipulated ‘trial’, maintains that AIPAC routinely encouraged its officials to secure confidential US government documents for Israel [25].

And then there are the prominent free-lance Zionists, who engage in vicious, highly publicized, political thuggery, physical assaults and blackmail against critics of Israel [26].

The most prominent defamers, like Abraham Foxman of the Anti (sic) Defamation League, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, manipulate legions of respectable and wealthy thugs to pressure schools, universities and other employers to censor and fire critics of Israel. These Zionist organizations far exceed the reach and effective blacklisting of an earlier generation of witch hunters, like Senator Joseph McCarthy, who were rank amateurs in comparison. The recent antics of Israel-Firster Andrew Adler, editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times, whose call for the Israeli Mossad to assassinate President Obama [27] led merely to his resignation as editor after several weeks of nervous outrage (but no federal investigation or charges).

What is striking here is that while most respectable Zionists dissociate themselves from AIPAC spies and verbal assassins, the power of the Israel Firsters ensures that such goons and thugs are rarely charged for their crimes and have never gone to jail [28].

The wider impact of Zionist influence and thuggery is evident in the timorous self-censorship of the majority of Americans who privately express fear and loathing at the confrontational, strident and abusive Zionist-Americans pushing a foreign agenda. [29]

Israel, Zionism and the Mass Media

The mass media is a key political resource, which the pro-Israel power configuration exploits to the full. Not a single major print, television, film or radio outlet is willing to provide a balanced account of the Israel-Palestine conflict [30]. Israel’s dispossession of thousands of Arab families from their homes and the daily terrorist Zionist settler and military assaults against Palestinians protesting land seizures go unreported [31].

The hundreds of nuclear weapons in Israel’s arsenal are never mentioned while the Jewish State’s hysterical claims that non-nuclear Iran represents an existential threat are repeated and magnified, ad nauseam. The leaders of the 52 know their Goebbels: A lie repeated often enough becomes an accepted truth.

Zionism and Leveraging Power

What is crucial in understanding the Zionist Power Configuration’s stranglehold over our government is how it leverages power. For example, a tiny minority falsely claims to speak for all American Jews, who represent about 3% of the US population. However, based on this claim, they mobilize and raise funds to elect the committed Zionists who hold about 10% of the seats in the US Congress and Senate. These representatives, in turn, enjoy the support of a tiny cadre of super rich Zionists, whose promotion allows them to gain control over key committees dealing with Middle East policy and security.

Domestic security has been deeply influenced by the Zionist-Israeli agenda: Former US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey and Homeland Security Tzar, Michael Chertoff have been among the most prominent officials orienting US domestic security to focus on critics of Israel and the entrapment of Muslim citizens in bizarre webs of phony terrorist plots, while real domestic security has suffered and civil rights have been shredded. The over-representation of Zionists on the US Supreme Court (3 out of 9) and the careful selection of recent justices, like Justice Sotomayor, underscore the profound nature of the process as it extends to the judiciary.  [32]

The Zionist Power Configuration controls the Mid-East policies of both Democratic and Republican Party and their Presidential nominees through their Congressional and political party power bases. The US President, in turn, is leveraged, in order to secure key policy appointments for Zionists in the State Department, Treasury and Pentagon. Their leverage in the foreign policy establishment allows Zionist officials to put pressure on allies and clients in the United Nation and European Union to support policies, such as Israel’s boycott and punishment of the elected Hamas government in Gaza and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Leverage is how Israel, an infinitely small and insignificant state with less than 1% of world GNP, exports and market shares and occupying .001% of the world’s territory, can play such a disproportionate role in the reconfiguration of power in the Middle East. Through its American-Zionist influentials, Israel has manipulated the US into a quagmire of wars in the Middle East, costing the world’s consumers of oil untold billions of dollars and pushing the world economy into recession.

Israel’s “Petroleum Tax”: War Threats and the Price of Gas

During the first 3 months of 2012, the price of oil rose 15% (over 30% since the summer 2011) largely due to Israel’s war mongering and threats to launch an offensive war against Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres and Foreign Minister Lieberman have all repeatedly demanded the US bomb Iran, or failing that, they warn, Israel would launch its own offensive war against the Iranian people and drag the US into another war.

Almost all oil experts and political analysts agree that the spike in oil prices is a result of Israel’s war mongering, as major international oil speculators bet that an Israeli assault on Iran will provoke a major disruption in production and transportation of petroleum in the Middle East and provoke a global shortfall [33].

The 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations have added to the war hysteria by echoing and embellishing on Israel’s claims of an Iranian nuclear threat (or Iran’s “growing capacity” to threaten Israel in the future) [34].

During the first three months of this year alone, the increased price of gasoline – or more accurately Israel’s war tax on the American consumers and drivers costs an additional 60 cents a gallon, or $9 dollars more to fill a 15 gallon tank. This represents the tribute the Zionist power configuration has imposed on the American consumers in their push for a new war on Israel’s behalf. No US politician would dare discuss this issue, let alone speak up and tell the Zionist chattering classes and their “beloved leaders” to stop pimping for war or else risk the cutting off of Israel’s $3 billion dollar annual handout from the US taxpayers.

Leading economists have stated that the price hike in petroleum (caused by a bellicose Israel) is stunting growth and pushing the US and EU back into recession … costing millions more job losses [35]. If we add the consumer losses caused by high gas prices to the losses in world economic output, the mere war chants of Netanyahu, Lieberman, Peres and the AIPAC will cost the global economy hundreds of billions over the course of the year.

Any mention of Israel’s gas tax on the American family’s budget will elicit outraged accusations of anti-Semitism from respectable Zionists and ugly threats from their thug accomplices. When Obama performed his infamous annual belly crawl to pleasure the AIPAC delegates and their Israeli guests, in the midst of cheers over his re-affirmation of America’s unconditional loyalty to the state of Israel, he also quietly asked Israel to lower the war cries at least until after the November elections because of its effects on the price of gasoline on the American voter [36].

The high price of oil is damaging Obama’s chances for re-election. The American electorate may not understand the real cost of Obama’s submission to Israel and may not be aware of Israel’s gas tax, but they are holding their putative President responsible for their pain at the pump! There is only one thing that Obama cherishes more than Zionist support and that is the votes of an economically squeezed American electorate, who are turning against him in droves as the price of gasoline soars.

Conclusion

The week of March 4 to 11, 2012 will go down in history as a week of national humiliation; a time when legions of fanatical American Zionists took over Washington; when the entire Cabinet, led by President Obama, groveled before the officials of a foreign state – in the heart of Washington DC. When the President and Prime Minister of Israel directed their foreign legionaires to march on the US Congress and shove their flimsy pretexts for war with Iran into the faces of cringing legislators, the simplistic and idiotic message was: Bomb Iran because it may soon have … a nuclear ‘capacity’. If asked what constitutes capacity, they quote their beloved leaders in Tel Aviv, including the semi-literate (former nightclub bouncer) Foreign Minister Avi Lieberman, the morally corrupt Bibi Netanyahu and the quietly diabolic Shimon Peres that Iranians can ‘enrich uranium’ – a capacity long held by 125 other countries.

It is with supreme arrogance that the followers of AIPAC and the 52 Presidents penetrate the US government in order to serve a foreign government. None bother to hide their past, present or future affiliations with the state of Israel. They are backed by prestigious Zionist academics, whose tendentious justifications for war have already sent tens of thousands of US soldiers to an early grave or to the wards of military and veteran hospitals and clinics across the country: They have sold us the argument that by serving the interests of the State of Israel we serve the United States. From this, it only follows that to break the law and act as an unregistered agent for a foreign power, to transfer highly classified government documents to Mossad agents at the Israeli embassy and to threaten Americans who criticize or oppose Israel is a patriotic act [37]. Naval analyst Jonathan Pollard, the convicted US master-spy for Israel, is widely celebrated in Israel as an honorary Colonel in the IDF and a hero; the leaders of the major Zionist organizations are again pressuring Obama to release this traitor.

The documented performance of the leading Zionists in public office in the United States over the past two decades has been an unmitigated disaster. The self-proclaimed best and brightest have led the country into the worst economic and military catastrophes in a century. It was Alan Greenspan, as head of the Federal Reserve, who de-regulated the financial sector and optimized conditions for the mega-swindles and speculative frenzy bringing down the entire financial system. It was his replacement, Ben Bernacke, who pushed for trillions of US tax-payer dollars in bail-out funds to save his cronies on Wall Street and set them back on course, in the last 2 years, to repeat their speculative orgy – and allow such tribal compatriots as Stephen Schwartzman to reap $213 million in earnings in 2011 [38].

It was Fred Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Libby, Abrams and Ross, as well as their less prominent lieutenants, who pushed the US into wars on Israel’s behalf in Afghanistan and Iraq, all the while confidently predicting ‘low cost, quick victories’ (even slam-dunks). Never has such a cohort of Ivy League mediocrities collectively produced so many disastrous policies in such a brief historical time while never being held in any way, shape or form responsible or accountable for their performance. It is obvious that these policy disasters did not result from faulty intellect or lack of an elite education. Their apparent ignorance of historical, political, economic and military realities was a result of their blinding Zionist loyalties to the Israeli state whose real interests they embraced. This lack of accountability guarantees that this process will continue until the US, as a republic, is destroyed for the masses of its misled citizens.

In order to justify a war against Israel’s regional adversaries, these blind mediocrities have distorted the realities of Arab nationalism. It was with supreme tribal arrogance and racism that they assured themselves that Arabs could never sustain prolonged resistance to their imperial juggernaut. They believed precisely what their tribal religion/ideology told them: They were a chosen people (genetic studies aside). They were the most financially successful investors or speculators. They attended and taught at the most prestigious universities. When, on occasion, a leading Zionist philanthropist, like Bernard Madoff, fell afoul—and actually went to jail– it was because, like his fellow tribalists, Milken, Boesky and Pollard — he didn’t buy his one way ticket to Israel soon enough.

When a country, like the United States, is in decline, it is not because of external competition: Declining competitiveness is only a symptom. It is because of internal rot. Decline results when a nation is betrayed by craven leaders, who crawl and humiliate themselves before a minority of thuggish mediocrities pledged to a foreign state without scruples or moral integrity.

[1] For full coverage of the daily activities and the uncritical reportage of the major media see the Daily Alert , the official mouthpiece of 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, especially March 4 – 6, 2012.

[2] See the AIPAC video reports and the list of speakers. http://www.aipac.org , 3/2/2012 and subsequent reports.

[3] White House press release of Obama’s declaration that US subordinate relation to Israel is “sacrosanct”, March 4,/20/12.

[4] The reference is to Noam Chomsky whose laughable effort to downplay the influence of the Zionist power configuration is widely rejected and is once again refuted by the most superficial observation of the proceedings, pledges and prostrations of all top US policy makers at the AIPAC meeting.

[5] Netanyahu’s public pronouncements and AIPAC speech were duly recorded, amplified and supported by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and especially the Washington Post (2/6/2012). He explicitly called on the US to militarily attack Iran on behalf of Israel, on the basis of Teheran’s ‘capacity’ to make a nuclear weapon. According to Netanyahu “we can’t afford to wait much longer …” Prime Minister’s Office 3/5/12.

[6] New York Times, 3/5/12.

[7] Prime Ministers Office as quoted in the Daily Alert, 3/6/12.

[8] AIPAC video daily reports, 3/6/12.

[9] For example, just one of the numerous Zionist billionaires, the casino tzar, Sheldon Adelson has already contributed “tens of millions of dollars” to influence the current Presidential elections. Haaretz, 2/29/12. Haim Saban, another Israel-Firster billionaire, bought the principle Spanish language TV outlet in the US, UNIVISION, and then proceeded to promote sensationalist Israeli propaganda about an Iranian-Islamist “takeover” of Latin America.

[10] AIPAC press releases, 3/7/12 – 3/10/12.

[11] A survey of the Daily Alert , from March 4 to March 9, reveals there is not one single article that discusses the alternative of a diplomatic settlement with Iran, while over a dozen articles feature calls for war

[12] For documentation and details on the decisive role of Zionist policy makers in launching the US war against Iraq see my The Power of Israel in the United States (Atlanta: Clarity Press 2006).

[13] New York Times, 3/1/12

[14] The 52 Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations repeatedly endorsed Netanyahu’s pretext for war. See Daily Alert, 3/6/2012

[15] Quoted in http://Mondoweiss.net, 3/2/12.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Key Zionist Congressional operatives include Representatives Berman, Cantor, Harman, Lieberman, Ros- Lehtinen, and Levin as well as their Christian side-kicks, like McConnell and Pelosi among others who appeared at the AIPAC war fest. AIPAC promotional flyer 3/2/12.

[18] See The Power of Israel in the United States (op cit.)

[19] See “On Bended Knees: Zionist Power in American Politics” in James Petras, War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column (Clarity, Atlanta 2010.

[20] The Power of Israel in the United States, op cit.

[21] Though Ross has formally resigned, he is still a key Obama adviser on the Middle East. See Haaretz 1/27/12,

[22] One of the key Zionist operatives is Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He played a crucial role in support of Israel ’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006, during his term as Ambassador, calling Hezbollah a “terrorist organization”. He dictated policy to the US client ruler Fouad Siniora. Feltman twice served in Israel. He was stationed in Gaza where he collaborated with the occupying Israeli Defense Forces. He worked with uber-Zionist US Ambassador Martin Indyk backing Israel’s position in the phony “Peace Process” from 2000 to 2001. Other Zionists in key positions include Jack Lew, current Chief of Staff to President Obama; David Plouffe senior adviser, Dan Shapiro, Ambassador to Israel; Steven Simon, Head of Middle East/North Africa Desk at the National Security Council; and Eric Lynn, Middle East policy advisor. Jewish Virtual Library a Division of the American-Israeli Enterprise 2012.

[23] Prominent Zionists, who served in strategic positions in the foreign policy realm of the Obama regime, included Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to the President, David Axelrod, Senior Advisor; James Steinberg Deputy Secretary of State; and Richard Holbrooke Special Envoy to Pakistan/Afghanistan (deceased).

[24] Several studies estimate that Jews make up about 25% of the Forbes 400 richest Americans; over half are contributors to Israel or Zionist organizations or causes. J.J. Goldberg in his book on Jewish power estimates that 45% of Democratic fundraising comes from pro-Israel Jews. (Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment, Reading: Addison-Wesley 1996)

[25] Steve Rosen, a top policy director of AIPAC, along with his colleague, Keith Weissman admitted to handing over confidential documents to the Israeli embassy. Rosen later filed suit against AIPAC for firing him and Weissman and refusing to pay their legal fees; he claimed that the Lobby frequently condoned its employees’ receipt and illegal transfer of classified US government information citing numerous AIPAC documents to back-up his case. The Jewish Daily Forward, 12/15/2010.

[26] The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, urged Netanyahu to order the Israeli secret spy service, the Mossad, to assassinate President Obama, Haaretz 1/21/12. Rabbi Michael Lerner, a moderate Zionist critic of Israel, has been subject to four attacks on his home in the past two years, while accused of being a ‘self-hating Jew’ by Zionist fanatics. Mainstream Zionist organizations dissociate themselves from physical violence, while slanderously labeling opponents and critics of Israel as “anti-semites“, which has created precisely the political climate that encourages the less balanced among their audience to violent activity. Leading Zionist ideologues have been extremely active in inducing colleges and universities to fire critics of Israel, as was the case in the failure of DePaul University to renew the contract of a widely published scholar like, Norman Finklestein. Professors Walt and Mearsheimer, authors of an erudite study of The Israel Lobby, were subject to vitriolic attacks by American Zionist leaders, including A. Foxman of the Anti (sic) Defamation League as well as a superficial critique by left-Zionist Noam Chomsky. The racist rantings of uber-Zionists like David Horowitz and Pamela Geller helped to detonate the Islamophobic and Zionophilic mass murderer, Anders Breivik, in Norway.

[27] See the Atlantic Jewish Times editorial 1/20/12.

[28] The editor of the Atlantic Jewish Times who called for Obama’s assassination was not charged with any federal security offense. The confessed Zionist spy, Colonel Ben-Ami Kadish, who stole secret US nuclear weapon plans for Israel, did not spend a single day in jail although he paid a $50,000 fine for handing over scores of documents to Israel. (See Grant Smith Foreign Agents, Institute for Research Middle East Policy (IRMEP) Washington 2008. On AIPAC spying see IRMEP 2/6/12.

[29] Not to be ignored, the rarified atmosphere in high level scientific research journals has been politicized – most outrageous is the censorship of a genetic-immunologic study (by a leading international team of scientists) showing the close genetic relationship, if not identity between Levantine Jews and Palestinians. University libraries around the world were advised to ‘tear-out’ (eyes closed) the offending study from the pages of the journal, Human Immunology, lest such data might undermine the racist ‘raison d’etre’ for an exclusively Jewish State. (see Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians, Robin McKie, Guardian-Sunday Observer (London), November 25, 2001 and Hum. Immunol. 62 (9): 889–900.)

[30] A review of new reports and editorials of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, published by the Daily Alert during the AIPAC conference, reveals a close alignment with the extremist militarist position of the Israeli regime and AIPAC leaders See Steve Lendman ‘New Times Promoting War on Iran‘ 3/3/12.

[31] During the month of February 2012, the Israeli Army and armed paramilitary Jewish settlers carried out 145 attacks on Palestinians, killing and wounding dozens, demolishing homes, seizing thousands of acres of land and uprooting scores of families: The Wall and Settlements Information Center, Palestinian Authority 3/1/12. Neither the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Post reported on these Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians.

[32] Among Chertoff’s current clients are the manufacturers of the intrusive and nationally detested ‘body scanners’ used at US airports. He was also instrumental in the release and repatriation of a dozen Israeli Mossad agents arrested in New York and New Jersey within 24 hours of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Three of the nine justices,Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan, are Zionists unwilling to challenge the Executive usurpation of war powers and promotion of torture and rendition. The others are all affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Not a single Protestant-affiliated Justice (numerically the majority religion in the US) has been appointed to the Supreme Court since the 1990 appointment of respected constitutional scholar, David Souter (by George Bush the First), because of their ‘unreliability’ (code-word for upholding the Bill of Rights and Constitution). The recent appointment of Justice Elena Kagan, whose lackluster academic career did not deter uber-Zionist Laurence Summers from appointing her Dean of the Harvard Law School, uderscores the mediocre criteria used in the high judiciary. The most recent appointment of Sonya Sotomayor to replace the brilliant (and Zionistically ‘unreliable’) J.P. Stevens, was promoted heaviliy for the Supreme Court on the basis of her strong ties to Israel, starting with her first (of many) ‘leadership’ tours to Israel (see The Jewish Chronicle – Life story Israel trips tie Sotomayor to Jews, Ron Kampeas – May 26, 2009).

[33] Financial Times 3/6/12, p. 9.

[34] Howard Kohr AIPAC executive director, during his vitriolic war mongering speech at the conference exceeded even Netanyahu’s explicit call for an immediate military attack on Iran. See AIPAC daily report, 3/16/12.

[35] Most experts agree that the oil price increase has stymied ‘economic recovery’ and if it continues to rise will plunge the world back into deep recession.

[36] Obama’s speech to the AIPAC meeting pointedly called on the Israeli leaders to tone down on their military rhetoric, clearly linking rising oil prices to Israeli war mongering.

[37] See Grant Smith, ‘AIPAC Directors Use of Classified Missile Data, Harmed National Security – US State Department’, Business Wire 2/6/12

[38] Financial Times 3/1/12, p. 17.

James Petras latest book, The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack (Clarity Press:Atlanta2012) 2ND EDITION

March 16, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

SWIFT cuts financial ties with Iran over EU sanctions

Press TV – March 16, 2012

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) says it has decided to discontinue services to Iranian banks which are subject to financial sanctions imposed by the European Union.

“Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for SWIFT. It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran,” the Associated Press quoted SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos as saying on Thursday.

The Financial Times described the service as “one of the key bits of plumbing in the world’s interbank payment systems,” adding that 30 Iranian banks will be cut off from the service as of Saturday, March 17.

The US and EU charge Iran with pursuing military goals under the cover of its civil nuclear energy program and have imposed several rounds of international and unilateral sanctions against Iran to force the country give up its nuclear energy program.

On January 23, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions on Iran’s financial and oil sectors, which ban member countries from importing Iranian crude or dealing with its central bank.

Experts believe that SWIFT’s new action is meant to fully enforce EU sanctions, as global financial transactions are impossible without using SWIFT.

Despite tightening sanctions, some analysts have noted that Iran is still able to skirt the sanctions in a few ways. The country, they say, may exchange oil for cash, gold or other commodities directly. Also, Iranian banks that have not been targeted by EU sanctions can still sell oil.

“Throughout the history of the oil trade, someone always gets around trade embargoes one way or another,” said Jim Ritterbusch, a veteran oil trader and analyst.

SWIFT is a clearing system, which oversees the network used by most of the world’s largest banks to conduct financial wire transfers.

SWIFT handles cross-border payments for more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries. It enables users to exchange financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs and reducing risks.

Established in 1973, the system has been overseen by major central banks, including the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

   

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